Note: There is no need to panic when you realize that I am only two days into my 10-day Texan adventure and have not yet actually said anything. I promise that while I will continue to say nothing, I will not be chronicling each and every day of the trip.
Sunday, June 29. After a delicious breakfast of convention center coffee and a Target wholesome multi-grain cereal bar that, I realized too late, contained a tremendous amount of discount bran, manual labor resumed at the booth. The morning’s task involved folding 200 blue t-shirts adorned with the egg-shaped noggin of the robot who stars in our animated movies. The shirts were printed several years ago on the cheap. As such, the robot, whose normal skin tone – or pantone, as the case may be – is a pleasing burnt sienna, appeared to be the color of jaundice mixed with a hint of creamsicle. In some cases, he looked so ill we had to trash the shirts. It was a smidge challenging to neatly fold – and then sort by size – that many garments with one functioning hand and the other still stuck in its palsied claw-like c-shape, but thankfully, I had some help. By the time the noon hour struck, Hope and I realized with a mix of horror and joy that once again we needed to visit Target. On the way back, Hope was kind enough to take a side trip with me to Fort Sam Houston, where Lew (aka my dad) miraculously survived basic training in the summer of 1972. As it was approximately 200 degrees in the shade during our visit, I have no idea how he was able to accomplish this, and have to assume that the army goes easier on kindly physicians than the average G.I. Joe. While I myself had never set foot at Fort Sam before, I felt a strong connection to the place on account of Lew, and as if I now shared an even more special bond with my father. As Hope and I were driving around, past the PX and the commissary, imagining where each of the Army Wives leading ladies would have lived if they’d been stationed here instead of Charleston, I discovered the real root of the emotions that were overcoming me: Sonic. Looming on the horizon, just off the base, was an outlet of this exotic and not-yet-experienced-by-me fast food eatery. We still had to find a Kinko’s, so the only ethical choice was to avail ourselves of the famous drive-in feature. I chose a dee-LICIOUS lemon slush for my virgin Sonic experience and was quite happy with it. It was refreshing and just the right blend of tartness and sweetness. Later that evening, I asked Lew if he’d frequented said Sonic during his time at Fort Sam, hoping that perhaps we’d received frosty beverages from the very same window, 36 years apart. Alas, he had no recollection of receiving anything from any Sonic, ever.
We spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening ransacking San Antonio for a copy shop that was open on Sunday, having dinner at a sad and mediocre Mexican restaurant called La Fonda, getting lost again, and finally returning to the Marriott. Generally, I love the smell of hotels, but this one had an atypical aroma that I would describe as 1970s airport. Luckily, it was fairly easy to ignore the aroma because of all the good televisual options the San Antonio airwaves offered. For starters, there was NASA TV: FASCINATING and not at all sleep-inducing real-time coverage of people floating through the air in stylish blue jumpsuits. But beyond that, and more important, whatever channel I flipped to, whatever time it was, King of the Hill was always on.